Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ANSWER TO AN OLD MAN'S PAEAN, by HORACE SMITH



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

Rhyming Dictionary Search
ANSWER TO AN OLD MAN'S PAEAN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Thou greybeard gay! Whose muse
Last Line: Rice-milk, and water-gruel!
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Aging; Love; Muses


THOU greybeard gay! whose muse -- (perchance
In second childhood's ignorance,)
Inspired "An Old Man's Paean,"
Hear how a brother senior sings
Sexagenarian sufferings,
In strains antipodean!

Young, I could take a morning's sport;
Play matches in the Tennis Court,
So strong was I and plastic;
Dine out, and yet with spirit light
And body unfatigued, at night,
Could sport the toe fantastic.

Behold me now! -- my limbs are stiff:
An open door, an east-wind's whiff,
Brings sharp rheumatic touches;
A chamber-horse my only nag,
I mope at home, or slowly drag
My gouty feet on crutches.

Once I devoured whatever came,
And never knew, except by name,
The heartburn, bile, dyspepsy:
Now I must fast -- eat what I hate,
Or all my ailments aggravate,
From ache to epilepsy.

How starving Tantalus of old
Was punished by the gods, is told
In many a classic stanza;
And all must recollect the wand
That whisked the viands from the hand
Of hungry Sancho Panza: --

Their fate without their fault is mine.
Champagne and claret, drinks divine
As nectar or ambrosia,
I may not quaff, but -- (horrid bore!)
My sherry from a cruet pour
And think of past symposia.

At home my wife will supervise
Each meal I take. I wish her eyes
Were sometimes touched with blindness!
But no -- they move not from my plate:
God bless her! how I love, yet hate
Her ever watchful kindness.

"My dear! you know you're bilious -- pray
Avoid the turtle soup to-day,
And do not touch the salmon;
Just take a chicken wing, or leg,
But no rich sauce -- and let me beg
You will not taste the gammon."

Shell-fish -- of yore my favourite food,
Are now my bane; yet crabs eschew'd,
Might make an angel crabbed --
No wonder if I quit the treat
Of dainties that I may not eat,
Half starving and half rabid.

Debarred by fond affection's care
From all my palate yearns to share,
A kindness still more cruel
Gives me carte blanche in all I loathe --
Bread-puddings, sago, mutton-broth,
Rice-milk, and water-gruel!





Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net